Health Policy Institute Draws PhD Cohort

Posted: March 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm, Last Updated: March 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

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By Colleen Kearney Rich

Department of Health Administration and Policy chair P. J. Maddox with Veronica Feeg of Molloy College. Photo courtesy of WHPI.

Department of Health Administration and Policy chair P. J. Maddox with Veronica Feeg of Molloy College. Photo courtesy of WHPI

When nursing educator Veronica Feeg returned to Mason for a visit, it wasn’t just to say hi to former colleagues. She brought a cohort of her doctoral students to attend the 20th Washington Health Policy Institute (WHPI) sponsored by George Mason University’s Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics.

“As part of their curriculum, my students study health care organizations, policy, and ethics in several didactic and research practica courses,” says Feeg, who now directs the Center for Nursing Research and Scholarly Practice and the PhD program at Molloy College in Long Island, N.Y. “The institute provided an outstanding foundation of policy content, augmented by the opportunities on Capitol Hill.  The Mason faculty and staff were exceptionally supportive.”

The doctoral students attending the institute with Feeg included directors and administrators from such New York area hospitals as New York Presbyterian Morgan, Stanley Children’s Hospital, and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, and nursing educators from Nassau Community College and Molloy.

The collaboration was so successful that the institute is seeking more opportunities to partner with colleges and universities. “They were our first formal cohort,” says Jan Boyd, assistant dean of Academic Outreach at Mason’s College of Health and Human Services. “It is a model we are trying to replicate this year with other institutions.”

The institute also offers credit for the work in a number of ways. In addition to earning CEUs for attending, participants can also earn 3 graduate credits in HAP 605 Health Policy or HAP 748 Health Policy Leadership.

“The programs [at other universities] are adjusting their policy requirements so students can take the courses,” says Boyd.

Word-of-mouth advertising has always worked for the institute. Many former participants recommend the institute to fellow students or colleagues.

Feeg taught at Mason for 25 years before leaving to expand her career. “I had a terrific opportunity as the Institute of Medicine Nurse Scholar in Residence to spend a year up close to national policy analysts, researchers and leaders,” she says of her time before Molloy and after Mason. Now, she is looking to provide such transformative opportunities for her own students.

“Their personal growth from the experience was evident, as was their profound understanding of the dynamics of our democracy,” says Feeg of her students. “Their days on Capitol Hill were surpassed only by their face-to-face experiences in conversations with legislators.”

“My experience was phenomenal and gave me a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes reality of the American health care system and its challenges,” says psychiatric nurse practitioner Marcia D. Williams, a member of the Molloy PhD cohort. “This has served to solidify the lessons learned in the classroom — I truly enjoyed the lobbying experience.”

Feeg says, “The WHPI will be part of our PhD program plans each summer in the future.”

This year’s institute takes place June 2-7, 2013. Visit for more information.

Write to Robin Herron at

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